Gatebox continues to blur the boundary between digital and physical worlds.

Otaku have never been shy about having fun with technology trends, and one of the newer ones is the digital figure. As the name implies, they’re digital versions of the plastic anime character figurines that have long made up a sizable portion of the anime merchandise sector/otaku interior decorating choices.

Digital figures have a number of advantages over their physical counterparts. As they’re essentially 3-D CG models of the character, they can be posed however you want, without any of the balance issues or awkward appearances of plastic joints or connectors. The downside, though, is that they require a PC program or smartphone app to view. That’s fine for the times when fans want to gaze extendedly at their favorite character, but part of the fun of collecting figures is being able to have them on permanent display on a shelf or desktop, something that’s both always there that you can take a quick glance at, then get back to whatever you were doing without having to open and then close out an app.

So to address those problems, Akihabara-based tech company Gatebox is developing a Digital Figure Box, which it says combines the posable customization of a digital figure with the display-and-decorate factors of a physical one.

Cleverly, the device’s form factor looks just like a cardboard figure box, right down to the slightly curved, not quite flat and flush top. Instead of a clear piece of plastic on the front face, though, you’ve got a digital display for your digital figure, as shown in the demonstration video here.

The designers have come up with multiple “package” styles, some with the name and art of a specific character, and one without so that you can swap other digital figures in and out without them being mislabeled.

The Digital Figure Box is still in development and not on sale yet, but Gatebox fully intends to make them available to purchase once the design is finalized. Considering that this is the company that previously created a way for otaku to live with a holographic housemate and is so committed to fan energy that it provided marital benefits for employees who registered their favorite anime character as their spouse, it’s probably a safe bet that Gatebox will have the Digital Figure Box ready for release before too long.

Source: Gatebox via IT Media
Top image: Gatebox
Insert images: Gatebox, YouTube/Gatebox
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